Key Points:

  • Low-fee private schools (officially known as ‘independent schools’) are growing rapidly in South Africa.
  • The interest of corporate and philanthropic investors in ‘affordable’ independent schools has given rise to key questions: Is it worth investing in low-fee independent schools? How financially viable are they? What is needed to ensure they offer quality education and are financially sustainable?
  • The growth of the independent school sector has been fuelled in recent years by the emergence of for-profit and not-for-profit chains of independent schools at all fee levels.
  • CDE estimated that low-fee independent schools, charging annual school fees of less than R12,000,1 are educating an estimated 250,000 learners across the country. These schools provide access to good education where there are no, insufficient or dysfunctional public schools in disadvantaged communities.
  • This report outlines the findings of CDE’s analysis and modelling of the financial viability of low-fee independent ‘stand-alone’ schools and chains of schools to determine the key factors that influence financial viability. CDE’s modelling points to the potential of low-fee independent schools to provide affordable, good quality schooling to poor communities on a sustainable basis.

 

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